Walkability is key: A look at greenspace use

If city planners want more people to visit community greenspaces, they should focus on “putting humans in the equation,” according to a new study from University of Arizona researchers.

The main finding, lead researcher Adriana Zuniga-Teran says, is simple: the easier and safer it is to get to a park, the more likely people are to visit the park frequently.

The paper is available online and set for publication in October in Landscape and Urban Planning.

Zuniga-Teran, assistant research scientist at the College of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture and the Udall Center for Studies in Public Policy, studies greenspace in cities. She says walkability — or how easy and safe it is for someone to walk from home to a greenspace — is a deciding factor in how often people visit parks.

Tucson was an ideal location for the study because it is “almost surrounded by protected land” and features hundreds of parks scattered throughout the city, she said. Researchers gathered data from people in parks as well as from people in their homes, which Zuniga-Teran says is significant, as most similar previous efforts she could find focused exclusively on one group or the other.

Results From Residents

The data from those surveyed in their homes show that several factors that play into a neighborhood’s walkability can significantly increase how often people visit greenspaces. For example, higher levels of perceived traffic safety and surveillance — or how well people inside nearby buildings can see pedestrians outside — corresponded with more frequent visits.

The research also suggests that people who travel to greenspaces by walking or biking are three-and-a-half times more likely to visit daily than those who get there by other means. Residents who have to drive are more likely to go only monthly.

Proximity to a park, though, played no significant role in how often people visited a park, Zuniga-Teran said.

“This was surprising because oftentimes we assume that people living close to a park are more likely to visit the park and benefit from this use.”

Different levels of walkability may explain this result.

“Let’s say you live in front of a huge park, but there’s this huge freeway in the middle,” Zuniga-Teran explained. “You’re very close, but just crossing the major street, you might need to take the car and spend a long time in that intersection.”

In situations like that, she said, a person probably won’t visit that park frequently despite living close to it.

Results From Greenspace Users

The team of researchers, all from the UA, gathered data from more than 100 people visiting Rillito River Park and found only one walkability factor was significantly linked to more frequent visits: traffic safety. Those in the park who indicated their neighborhoods have fewer traffic-related safety concerns were one-and-a-half times more likely to visit greenspaces daily than those who reported concerns about traffic-related safety.

Unlike the people surveyed in their homes, those surveyed at greenspaces indicated that proximity is a major factor in how often they visit, with those who live close to greenspaces being six times more likely to go daily.

Moving Forward

It’s important to gather and use this kind of information for the sake of human and environmental health, Zuniga-Teran says. Greenspaces clean the air and water, which benefits every resident of a community, she said. And when people use parks, that greenspace is more likely to be preserved.

It’s up to community planners to use the research to shape policy, so that neighborhoods are developed in ways that connect residents more easily and safely with public greenspaces. For example, she said, the continuing emergence of gated communities can interrupt the flow to greenspaces. Cul-de-sac-heavy neighborhoods can do the same thing. Developers of those types of neighborhoods, Zuniga-Teran suggested, could work with city planners to “open a door to the park” by creating pathways that enhance connectivity.

Developers also could use the findings as a springboard into looking into whether their perceptions of walkability match those of the residents living in their communities, she says.

“We might think we are designing walkable neighborhoods,” Zuniga-Teran says, “but people might not feel like that.”

The next step, she hopes, is that researchers will take a deeper dive into what amenities or design features can draw new people into parks. Those could range from additional lighting and separate bike lanes to more accessibility for people with disabilities. Her team is continuing the effort with more detailed surveys in Tucson this summer.

Philip Stoker, co-author and assistant professor of planning and landscape architecture, says he hopes other research teams follow suit.

“I would like to see researchers across the country replicate this study to add external validity to our case study of Tucson. It is an interesting line of research that connects how people see their world with their own behaviors,” he said. “In our context, we hope to see further evidence to support which perceptions influence the probability of visiting urban parks.”

Zuniga-Teran says she hopes this and future research into greenspace use will show community leaders that, when it comes to improving public and environmental health by getting people into parks, “urban planning and architecture matter.”

8 Ways to Progress Bodyweight Exercises Without Adding Weights

Anyone can get a good workout with bodyweight exercises. There are so many options and variations, and since they don’t require any equipment, you can do them wherever you want—and for free.

But it’s also common, as you do bodyweight exercises consistently and get stronger, to start to feel like they’re becoming too easy. Like you need something to make them more challenging again—and that’s definitely something to celebrate. For some people, it might make sense to progress to using free weights, like dumbbells. But what if you’re not ready for weights (this may help you figure that out, btw) or don’t have access to them? There are actually a lot of really simple ways to make bodyweight exercises more challenging without involving a single piece of equipment.

Here are a few ideas for changing up your go-to bodyweight exercises so that you can work your muscles in slightly different, more challenging ways.

1. Slow them down.

“People assume faster is better in so many cases, but the first thing you can do to make an exercise more challenging is to actually truly slow down the tempo,” Kira Stokes, celebrity trainer, group fitness instructor, and creator of the Kira Stokes Fit app, tells SELF. For example, she suggests taking three to four seconds to lower down into a squat, holding at the bottom for a count or two, and then taking three to four seconds again to stand back up. (Remember to pause for a moment at the top of the movement, too!) By moving more slowly, you take any momentum out of it and rely more on strength. It also forces you to engage your core more to stay balanced longer, Stokes explains, adding a little extra core stability work. The biggest benefit, though? You’ll keep your muscles under tension (aka working) for longer.

Slowing down also forces you to think about what you’re doing, or what Stokes calls “minding your muscle.” When we something fast, we often don’t have time to think about it and just go through the motions. When you slow things down, “you have to think about what is going on in your body and what needs to stay engaged,” says Stokes. This can help you engage the right muscles more effectively.

Stokes suggests experimenting with slowing down the entire exercise, slowing down just the lowering portion, and slowing down just the lifting portion.

2. Speed them up.

Adding speed gets your muscles working in a different way and will also get your heart rate higher quicker, increasing cardiovascular conditioning and muscular endurance, depending on how long you do it for. The most extreme way to add speed would be adding explosive power, which we know as plyometric exercises, says Stokes. Some explosive movements, she adds, can be applicable to sport-specific training, like squat jumps and one-legged jumps if you’re a runner. If you’re going to progress all the way to a plyometric (like a jump squat where your feet come off the ground vs a regular squat where your feet stay put), Stokes recommends starting with the regular exercise to get your muscles warmed up first. “Make it a progression,” she says.

To speed up an exercise, it may be easier to think about going for time instead of reps. So, for example, instead of doing 10 squats, see how many squats you can do in 20 seconds. You’ll move much quicker and the exercise will feel a lot more intense.

3. Add a pulsing movement.

Pulsing, or getting into the hard part of an exercise and then simply moving up and down an inch each way (vs going through the full range of motion), is just another way to keep your muscles under tension for longer. It ultimately trains your muscular endurance.

“Pulsing deep in a movement at the point that’s most challenging to hold, where you feel like you’re just not going to be able to bear it any longer, is especially great when you’re short on time,” says Stokes. “Embrace the burn that happens—that’s the good stuff,” she adds. Feeling a burning sensation in your muscles is a sign they’re working hard, but feeling a sharp, stabbing, and/or sudden pain is not. Pay attention to your body and stop if you feel any pain. Stokes suggests doing about 10 reps of pulsing at a time to challenge your muscles without going overboard.

And, “if you do add pulsing, make sure to do a full contraction afterward,” meaning, if you’re lowered into a squat and pulsing, make sure to finish with a few reps of a full range squat, Stokes recommends. That’s because it’s just good to make a habit out of moving your muscles through their full range of motion to promote mobility and decrease tightness.

4. Make them unilateral.

This obviously doesn’t work for all movements, but for some exercises—like deadlifts—moving from the classic version (both feet planted on the ground and both arms involved in holding the weights) to a unilateral, or single-leg, variation (one foot planted, the other lifting off the ground with each rep) adds an extra stability challenge, Stokes says. Another great example is a one-arm plank, where you get into a solid plank and then slowly lift one arm off the ground and hold it by your side. This variation will engage your obliques, the muscles along the sides of your torso, even more than a regular plank, as your core works overtime to keep your body stable.

5. Do more reps.

This one’s sort of self-explanatory, but worth mentioning. If you’re doing bodyweight exercises and they’re starting to feel less challenging, increasing the number of reps you’re doing can make the same workouts feel harder again. That’s because more reps will increase your overall training volume, or how much stress you’re putting your muscles under. When you don’t have weights, increasing the number of reps or adding an extra set to your typical workout are easy ways to push your body a little harder beyond what it’s used to.

6. Rest less.

Shortening rest intervals is a simple way to make any bodyweight workout more challenging, Stokes says. Again, this is all about increasing the time your muscles are under tension without a break, but less rest will also keep your heart rate higher for longer, increasing the cardio benefits. Just always make sure to listen to your body: If you decrease rest but end up feeling lightheaded or are gasping for air throughout your workout, that’s a sign your body needs a bit more time to recover before working hard again.

7. Elevate your feet.

One easy way to make a push-up harder, in particular? Put your feet up on an elevated surface. (Elevating your arms will make the move easier.) By changing the angle slightly, you’re taking some of the weight off your feet and putting more weight into the upper-body muscles you’re actually using to do the brunt of the work, forcing them to work harder. A similar phenomenon is at play with a glute bridge when you elevate your feet on a bench or step.

Another example: the deficit deadlift, where you stand on a weight plate, thereby increasing how far you’re able to lower down. Moving within a larger range of motion engages your quads, hamstrings, and glutes a bit more than a regular deadlift (and it’s actually a helpful modification for beginners to learn proper deadlift form).

8. Combine a few variations.

Sure, each of these tweaks can be effective on its own, but Stokes suggests also combining a few different variations to really spice things up. For example, start with a regular squat at a slow tempo for 5 reps. Then, lower into a squat and pulse for 10 reps. And then for the next 5 reps, alternate a regular squat and a jump squat. Get creative with how you combine the different elements to make your workouts different and more challenging. “There are countless options,” Stokes says. The more comfortable you get with bodyweight exercises in their infinite variations, the better prepared you’ll be if and when you do add weights, she says.

Related:

Fragrance-releasing fabric could help neutralize sweaty gym clothes

Hot summer weather, stressful situations and intense workouts can produce unpleasant sweaty odors. But what if clothing could cover up these embarrassing smells with a burst of fragrance? Now, researchers have modified cotton fabric to emit a lemony citronella aroma upon contact with sweat. They report their body-odor-fighting strategy in ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces.

In recent years, scientists have developed smart fabrics that react to stimuli such as light, temperature or mechanical stress and respond in certain ways, such as by changing color or conducting an electrical signal. Researchers have also explored different methods to release fragrances from fabrics. Carla Silva, Artur Cavaco-Paulo and colleagues wanted to develop and compare two new strategies for releasing a fragrance — β-citronellol, a lemongrass-derived scent used in some insect repellants — from cotton fabric in response to sweat.

The first approach involved an odorant-binding protein (OBP) found in pigs’ noses that binds to β-citronellol and other scent molecules. To the OBP, the researchers attached a protein domain, called a carbohydrate-binding module (CBM), that binds to cotton. In their second strategy, the researchers packaged the fragrance in liposomes that displayed CBMs, which anchored the lipid carriers and their cargo to the fabric. The team exposed the modified cotton fabrics to an acidic sweat solution, and the low pH of the simulated perspiration caused the OBP and liposomes to release β-citronellol. Comparing the two strategies revealed that the OBP released a quick burst of scent, while the liposomes showed a slower, controlled release. The liposomes could also hold more fragrance than the other approach. The two strategies could prove useful for different clothing applications, the researchers say.

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Materials provided by American Chemical Society. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

15 Fitness Must-Haves That Plus-Size Athletes Swear By

Until pretty recently, plus-size women have had to make do with fitness products and apparel that weren’t really created with our bodies in mind. If you are part of this demographic, you know what I’m talking about, right?

For a long time we made do with oversized t-shirts, ill-fitting bras that weren’t even necessarily intended to be used for fitness, and, if you were lucky enough to find activewear, it was typically made from cotton and resembled lounge wear. The athletic plus-size woman wasn’t taken seriously and that, my friends, was an economic mistake.

With the rise of the body-positive movement and brands now acknowledging the massive buying power from the plus-size market, services and products are becoming more and more readily available thus removing one of many barriers to fitness. It has become clear that plus-size women do work out, want to look great and feel comfortable in their activewear, and will spend money on the clothes that will let us do all that. With that, we are finally starting to see a rise in plus-size athletic culture and women like me and the clients I train are finally getting the gear we want. Here is my round-up of athletic products that I, or someone I train and trust, absolutely swear by. (Most of these products come personally recommended by yours truly, others are highly recommended by members of my Big Fit Girl Facebook group or by my peers in the plus-size fitness community; either way, they’re not to be missed.)

I hope this list takes you one step closer to living your athletic dreams in the body you have right now!

All products featured on SELF are independently selected by our editors or contributors. If you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Shale natural gas development impacting recreationists

As the Trump administration opens millions of acres of once protected land and coastline for oil and natural gas exploration, there is mounting concern about the potential impact on the environment as well as those who enjoy the outdoors. Researchers at the University of New Hampshire took a closer look at one of these industries, shale natural gas energy development (SGD), and how it is affecting the experiences of outdoor recreationists, like hikers and campers. They found a significant number of recreationists encountered SGD-related activities and a smaller number even changed their outdoor recreation behaviors or experiences as a result of encountering SGD.

“What most people don’t realize is that a lot of the shale natural gas energy development is happening within or adjacent to public parks and protected areas,” said Michael Ferguson, assistant professor of recreation management and policy. “So those who love playing in the great outdoors are often encountering anything from heavy duty truck traffic congestion to actual construction and drilling operations while recreating on public lands.”

In the study, recently published in the Journal of Outdoor Recreation and Tourism, the researchers from UNH and Penn State University examined more closely the factors that may impact recreationists in Pennsylvania. They found that 12.3% of Pennsylvania outdoor recreationists were substantially impacted by SGD activities, especially in areas were SGD was most prominent (North Central and Southwest, Pennsylvania). 13.8% of respondents ended up changing their plans, avoided a certain area, or no longer traveled to the state to enjoy outdoor activities. The largest group, 23.8%, encountered some form of SGD activity including actual well sites, heavy truck traffic, pipelines, or SGD workers. Overall, the study authors say the findings suggest that a certain sub-population of recreationists sometimes altered their outdoor recreation plans because they perceived a lack of ‘fit’ between the SGD and the parks and protected areas of Pennsylvania.

According to the Outdoor Industry Association, in 2017, the U.S. outdoor recreation economy generated $887 billion in annual consumer spending and employed over 7 million people which is 42 times as many individuals in the U.S. employed by the oil and gas industry.

“The outdoor recreation industry has quietly positioned itself as a massive economic sector in the United States,” said Ferguson. “As SGD grows in the United States, the number of affected recreationists could increase and current numbers of those impacted could rise. It is important for lawmakers, natural resource managers, and industry representatives to recognize that outdoor recreation is an increasingly critical component of the economy and should have a seat at the table when looking at responsible SGD.”

Researchers say this is especially true as SGD companies attempt to gain public support in Pennsylvania and other states that have natural gas deposits. While this study was conducted in Pennsylvania, the researchers say the findings could be applied to other similar public lands experiencing SGD in states like Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, and Colorado.

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What the brains of people with excellent general knowledge look like

The brains of people with excellent general knowledge are particularly efficiently wired. This was shown by neuroscientists at Ruhr-Universität Bochum and Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin using magnetic resonance imaging. “Although we can precisely measure the general knowledge of people and this wealth of knowledge is very important for an individual’s journey through life, we currently know little about the links between general knowledge and the characteristics of the brain,” says Dr. Erhan Genç from the Department of Biopsychology in Bochum. The team describes the results in the European Journal of Personality on 28 July 2019.

Brain images and knowledge test

The researchers examined the brains of 324 men and women with a special form of magnetic resonance imaging called diffusion tensor imaging. This makes it possible to reconstruct the pathways of nerve fibres and thus gain an insight into the structural network properties of the brain. By means of mathematical algorithms, the researchers assigned an individual value to the brain of each participant, which reflected the efficiency of his or her structural fibre network.

The participants also completed a general knowledge test called the Bochum Knowledge Test, which was developed in Bochum by Dr. Rüdiger Hossiep. It is comprised of over 300 questions from various fields of knowledge such as art and architecture or biology and chemistry. The team led by Erhan Genç finally investigated whether the efficiency of structural networking is associated with the amount of general knowledge stored.

The result: People with a very efficient fibre network had more general knowledge than those with less efficient structural networking.

Linking pieces of information

“We assume that individual units of knowledge are dispersed throughout the entire brain in the form of pieces of information,” explains Erhan Genç. “Efficient networking of the brain is essential in order to put together the information stored in various areas of the brain and successfully recall knowledge content.”

An example: To answer the question of which constants occur in Einstein’s theory of relativity, you have to connect the meaning of the term “constant” with knowledge of the theory of relativity. “We assume that more efficient networking of the brain contributes to better integration of pieces of information and thus leads to better results in a general knowledge test,” says the Bochum-based researcher.

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Materials provided by Ruhr-University Bochum. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

House move during early pregnancy linked to heightened premature birth risk

Moving to a new residence during the first three months of pregnancy is linked to a heightened risk of premature birth and low birthweight, as well as a slightly higher risk of a smaller-than-expected-size baby, according to new research from the University of Washington published online today in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health.

Still, it’s too soon to raise warning flags.

“I don’t think we have enough information to make any specific recommendations about moving during pregnancy at this point, but I’m hopeful that our study will draw attention to moving as a risk factor worth investigating in more detail,” said Julia Bond, the lead author who conducted the research while at the UW School of Public Health.

Little is known about the potential health impact of a house move during pregnancy. To try to rectify this, the researchers analyzed birth certificate data for babies born in Washington state between 2007 and 2014 to mothers who were 18 or older.

The researchers randomly selected 30,000 women who had moved during the first three months of pregnancy, known as the first trimester, and compared them with 120,000 randomly selected women of the same birth year, but who hadn’t moved during early pregnancy.

The first trimester was chosen because previous research has suggested that major stressors during early pregnancy have a greater impact on the health of the baby than those experienced later on in the pregnancy.

The final analysis included 28,011 women who had moved early in pregnancy and 112,451 who hadn’t.

Women who moved early in pregnancy were likely to be younger, to be less educated, to have lower levels of household income and to have had other children than women who hadn’t moved. Researchers noted that this cohort also was more likely to be unmarried and to have smoked during their pregnancy.

These circumstances and behaviors are all potential risk factors for the outcomes the researchers were looking at: low birthweight; premature birth; and smaller-than-expected-size babies.

After taking account of these potentially influential factors, a house move during the first three months of pregnancy was associated with a 37% heightened risk of low birthweight and a 42% heightened risk of premature birth compared with those who didn’t move during this period.

A house move in the first trimester was also associated with a slightly increased risk of giving birth to a smaller-than-expected-size baby.

These differences were seen across women in all social and economic strata that was analyzed.

As an observational study, researchers can’t establish cause. The researchers were not able to explore the potential reasons behind their findings, but interruptions to health care, the physical strain of moving, disruptions to social support systems, and a biological stress reaction may all be possible triggers, according to the report.

Although the study included a large number of women, the researchers weren’t able to establish the reasons for the participants’ moves or whether they moved into more or less desirable areas, which may have influenced the results.

“Despite these limitations, our results yield important insights regarding moving during pregnancy,” the researchers write in the report. “Regardless of whether the negative impact of moving is driven by the stress from the move itself, stressful situations leading to a move, or disruption of care because of the move, asking patients about plans to move and using that as an opportunity to counsel patients on stress-mitigating techniques and care continuity may be beneficial.”

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Materials provided by University of Washington. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

Allyson Felix Signs With Athleta, Becoming Its First Sponsored Athlete

Today, fitness apparel brand Athleta announced that they are the newest sponsor of Olympian sprinter Allyson Felix. Felix has been without a sponsor since her contract with Nike ended in December 2017; she even ran in the recent USATF Outdoor Championships unattached (although she told SELF she was actually wearing Athleta, in its SuperSonic compression fabric, while she competed). Felix is Athleta’s first sponsored athlete.

Felix had been in negotiations with Nike until recently, including in May, when she wrote a New York Times op-ed and appeared in an accompanying video that implored Nike and the sports-apparel industry at large to pay its female athletes throughout their pregnancies and recovery for childbirth. She was one of several runners, including sprinter Alysia Montaño and marathoner Kara Goucher, who shared their stories of suffering financial consequences because they were pregnant. As a result of the athletes’ advocacy, Nike recently announced that its new contracts for female athletes will include language that will protect their pay during pregnancy. In our July cover story, however, Felix’s agent and brother, Wes Felix, told us that Felix was no longer negotiating with Nike, saying that she had decided to seek a new apparel sponsor and that “she wants to partner with a brand that she believes makes women the focus of their business.” Athleta (a Gap Inc. brand) describes itself as a company that creates apparel designed by women athletes and has several women-focused campaigns and initiatives, including The Power of She and Athleta Girls.

Sheila Shekar Pollak, chief marketing officer of Athleta, noted that Felix’s Times op-ed played a crucial role in why the company wanted to partner with the athlete. “Just a couple of months ago we had been talking about how do we really create deeper, even more holistic and meaningful partnerships with some of these athletes,” Shekar Pollak told SELF. “And that’s serendipitously exactly when Allyson really took her stance—we all read the op-ed and watched her video and we were just so deeply moved by it. As athletes and as moms, it really resonated very personally. And so we immediately picked up the phone and the journey has been really magical ever since then.”

Felix, for her part, expanded on why she chose to partner with Athleta, saying that their new partnership is “redefining what sponsorship looks like.” “Typically the industry norm is: You are an athlete and everything is based on your performance,” Felix told SELF. “It’s really numbers, making world championship teams, making Olympic teams, and everything is tied back into how well your numbers look like and that is how you’re rewarded. This is a completely different approach. As a mother, as an activist, all these different parts of who I am, I’m more than an athlete. And it’s amazing to be supported in that way and to be able to partner and to create things together, to have values aligned and to do more than just perform.”

Her Times op-ed hasn’t been the only way that Felix has used her platform to speak out about things that matter to her. She’s also been calling attention to the black maternal mortality crisis—the United States is the only industrialized nation with a growing maternal mortality rate, and black women are dying from pregnancy and childbirth-related causes at rates three to four times higher than their white counterparts. Felix became passionate about the issue in the wake of her own life-threatening pregnancy complications, when she had an emergency C-section due to severe preeclampsia at 32 weeks pregnant. In May, she testified in front of the House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee for a panel exploring racial disparities within maternal health care, and just this week SELF profiled Felix as our July cover star for our Black Maternal Mortality Issue, part of an ongoing series focusing on the health crisis.

Felix also noted that her multiyear Athleta contract allows for maternity protection, since she is paid 100% throughout her contract “no matter what I decide to do” regarding pregnancy. “That’s amazing and I hope that others will follow suit,” Felix said.

As part of the partnership, Felix will appear in marketing campaigns and will be involved in apparel design and creation, both as an elite athlete who tests and provides feedback on technical gear and as the co-creator of a co-branded capsule collection. “We’re really excited to partner with Allyson on our high-performance run and train product and just being able to get her expertise and insights on what she really needs to feel her best, perform her best, look her best,” said Shekar Pollak.

Felix is still working out the details of her footwear sponsor, but she told SELF that she had no updates to share on that front. In the meantime, she’s focusing on her new Athleta partnership, mulling over a ninth world championship appearance in Doha, Qatar in September (she placed sixth in the 400 meters at the USATF national championships, qualifying her for a spot on the 4 x 400 meter relay team) as well as the messages she wants to share as an athlete and activist. “Thinking about my legacy and what I want to leave behind, this is really the work that I want to do,” she said. “I can have some impact on the sport or on the issues that women are facing. This partnership is really crucial to that.”

Amazon Cleansing Oil Review 2019

I don’t exactly know when I first learned about the magic (and efficiency!) of double cleansing (or using two different types of cleansers, typically an oil-based cleanser followed by a gel option, one after the other), but I do know that the process has totally overhauled my skin-care game. Since I wear a full face of makeup (basically) every single day, I know a thing or two about the best ways to remove it. It’s not that I pack on products whenever I wear makeup—save for a few coats of mascara—but I’ve come to the conclusion that my face is never totally clean by bedtime unless I cleanse it twice.

While I love a good makeup wipe or a few squirts of micellar water as much as the next person, for me, nothing beats the power of a really good cleansing oil to leave my skin feeling squeaky clean and hydrated. Although I have combination skin and tend to get a little shiny around my T-zone, the hallmark of a good cleansing oil is that it cleanses without leaving a greasy sheen on your face, or causing breakouts. Ahead, read on for my take on some of Amazon shoppers’ most beloved cleansing oils—many of which are available for under $15.

All products featured on SELF are independently selected by our editors. If you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

DHC Deep Cleansing Oil, $28

Amazon

4.4 stars, 2,408 customer reviews

Scent: Like the cleanest, mildest hand soap

You may have already heard about my obsession with DHC’s Deep Cleansing Oil, which has become an absolute staple in my double cleanse routine—it’s so good! It’s a Japanese product that’s credited with launching the double cleanse craze stateside, and is made with gentle ingredients like olive oil, vitamin E, and rosemary leaf oil. This might explain why I can keep my eyes open without the threat of burning or stinging, even while it breaks down my long-lasting, waterproof mascara.

Buy it: $28, amazon.com

Kose Softy Mo Deep Treatment Oil, $9

Amazon

4.3 stars, 376 customer reviews

Scent: Like a soapy oil

This product reminded me the most of my holy-grail DHC cleansing oil—which is a hit among Amazon shoppers, too. This one is the only other cleansing oil besides DHC that’s gentle enough to use that it doesn’t burn my eyes (so gentle thatI can actually open my eyes while washing my face, which is a nice bonus but ultimately not a dealbreaker). Its consistency was a bit more of what I’d expect from a traditional cleansing oil—thick, but not overly viscous—and it took my makeup off ridiculously easily without leaving my face feeling tight afterward.

Buy it: $9, amazon.com

Neutrogena Ultra Light Cleansing Oil, $9

Amazon

4.2 stars, 260 customer reviews

Scent: Light and fruity

To be totally honest, when I test any skin-care product that smells remotely close to the sweetness of a Jolly Rancher, I’m skeptical. That’s not to say I don’t enjoy fruit-scented products, but more often than not I end up breaking out right after using them. Although the Neutrogena Ultra Light Cleansing Oil smells good enough to eat, it easily removed my makeup without resulting in a single pimple.

After applying it directly to my face with dry hands (which is how I tested all the oils on this list), the oil quickly went to work lifting the dirt and makeup from my pores, and easily rinsed off later with a few handfuls of warm water—no residue whatsoever. Its texture felt as light as extra virgin olive oil, but still expertly rid my skin of the layers of makeup I had been wearing all day, with little to no effort. Bonus: It’s also non-comedogenic (which means it won’t clog pores).

Buy it: $9, amazon.com

The Face Shop Natural Rice Water Light Cleansing Oil, $12

Amazon

4 stars, 1,799 customer reviews

Scent: Like a powdery floral

The first time I tested this cleansing oil, I had to double check my palm to make sure I actually pumped product into it (it’s that lightweight). So light, in fact, that I wasn’t quite convinced the oil would be powerful enough to take on dirt, oil, and full-coverage foundation—until I started rubbing it onto my skin.

After about five minutes of massaging a few pumps of this in small circles on my face with my fingertips, and then following up with a rinse, I was honestly floored by how clean my face looked before even reaching for my next cleanser. Plus, since the oil is formulated to be essentially as light as water, it barely felt like I was washing my face at all, just giving it a nice rinse after a long day. If you’re on the fence about jumping into double cleansing, this product is the perfect entry point for first-timers.

Buy it: $12, amazon.com

Era Organics Lavender Vanilla Cleansing Oil, $14

Amazon

4.5 stars, 249 customer reviews

Scent: Similar to shea butter

I’m just going to come right out and say it—the first time I used this oil, I wasn’t over the moon impressed with it, but that’s likely because it’s formulated for dry and sensitive skin types (which doesn’t apply to me). Even after I thoroughly massaged the product in and did a complete rinse, it still felt like there was a layer of residue left on my face, as opposed to being totally clean. However, I did like the oil’s lightweight, non-sticky feel, and the fact that it featured ingredients like jojoba, sunflower, and argan oils that kept my skin nicely moisturized.

Buy it: $14, amazon.com

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The 5 Best Cleansing Oils on Amazon, Reviewed 2019

I don’t exactly know when I first learned about the magic (and efficiency!) of double cleansing (or using two different types of cleansers, typically an oil-based cleanser followed by a gel option, one after the other), but I do know that the process has totally overhauled my skin-care game. Since I wear a full face of makeup (basically) every single day, I know a thing or two about the best ways to remove it. It’s not that I pack on products whenever I wear makeup—save for a few coats of mascara—but I’ve come to the conclusion that my face is never totally clean by bedtime unless I cleanse it twice.

While I love a good makeup wipe or a few squirts of micellar water as much as the next person, for me, nothing beats the power of a really good cleansing oil to leave my skin feeling squeaky clean and hydrated. Although I have combination skin and tend to get a little shiny around my T-zone, the hallmark of a good cleansing oil is that it cleanses without leaving a greasy sheen on your face, or causing breakouts. Ahead, read on for my take on some of Amazon shoppers’ most beloved cleansing oils—many of which are available for under $15.

All products featured on SELF are independently selected by our editors. If you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

DHC Deep Cleansing Oil, $28

Amazon

4.4 stars, 2,408 customer reviews

Scent: Like the cleanest, mildest hand soap

You may have already heard about my obsession with DHC’s Deep Cleansing Oil, which has become an absolute staple in my double cleanse routine—it’s so good! It’s a Japanese product that’s credited with launching the double-cleanse craze stateside, and is made with gentle ingredients like olive oil, vitamin E, and rosemary leaf oil. This might explain why I can keep my eyes open without the threat of burning or stinging, even while it breaks down my long-lasting, waterproof mascara.

Buy it: $28, amazon.com

Kose Softy Mo Deep Treatment Oil, $9

Amazon

4.3 stars, 376 customer reviews

Scent: Like a soapy oil

This product reminded me the most of my holy-grail DHC cleansing oil, which is a hit among Amazon shoppers, too. It’s the only other cleansing oil besides DHC that’s gentle enough to use that it doesn’t burn my eyes (so gentle that I can actually open my eyes while washing my face, which is a nice bonus, but ultimately not a dealbreaker). Its consistency was a bit more of what I’d expect from a traditional cleansing oil—thick, but not overly viscous—and it took my makeup off ridiculously easily without leaving my face feeling tight afterward.

Buy it: $9, amazon.com

Neutrogena Ultra Light Cleansing Oil, $9

Amazon

4.2 stars, 260 customer reviews

Scent: Light and fruity

To be totally honest, when I test any skin-care product that smells remotely close to the sweetness of a Jolly Rancher, I’m skeptical. That’s not to say I don’t enjoy fruit-scented products, but more often than not I end up breaking out right after using them. Although the Neutrogena Ultra Light Cleansing Oil smells good enough to eat, it easily removed my makeup without resulting in a single pimple.

After applying it directly to my face with dry hands (which is how I tested all the oils on this list), the oil quickly went to work lifting the dirt and makeup from my pores, and easily rinsed off later with a few handfuls of warm water—no residue whatsoever. Its texture felt as light as extra virgin olive oil, but still expertly rid my skin of the layers of makeup I had been wearing all day, with little to no effort. Bonus: It’s also non-comedogenic (which means it won’t clog pores).

Buy it: $9, amazon.com

The Face Shop Natural Rice Water Light Cleansing Oil, $12

Amazon

4 stars, 1,799 customer reviews

Scent: Like a powdery floral

The first time I tested this cleansing oil, I had to double check my palm to make sure I actually pumped product into it (it’s that lightweight). So light, in fact, that I wasn’t quite convinced the oil would be powerful enough to take on dirt, oil, and full-coverage foundation—until I started rubbing it onto my skin.

After about five minutes of massaging a few pumps of this in small circles on my face with my fingertips, and then following up with a rinse, I was honestly floored by how clean my face looked before even reaching for my next cleanser. Plus, since the oil is formulated to be essentially as light as water, it barely felt like I was washing my face at all, just giving it a nice rinse after a long day. If you’re on the fence about jumping into double cleansing, this product is the perfect entry point for first-timers.

Buy it: $12, amazon.com

Era Organics Lavender Vanilla Cleansing Oil, $14

Amazon

4.5 stars, 249 customer reviews

Scent: Similar to shea butter

I’m just going to come right out and say it—the first time I used this oil, I wasn’t over the moon impressed with it, but that’s likely because it’s formulated for dry and sensitive skin types (which doesn’t apply to me). Even after I thoroughly massaged the product in and did a complete rinse, it still felt like there was a layer of residue left on my face, as opposed to being totally clean. However, I did like the oil’s lightweight, non-sticky feel, and the fact that it featured ingredients like jojoba, sunflower, and argan oil that kept my skin nicely moisturized.

Buy it: $14, amazon.com

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